NINTH TALK l73 the non-essential may be separated. Here your Catholic friends say Masses for their dead; go over to India and you will find our Hindu brothers performing what is called the Shraddha ceremony for the dead. Widely different as they are, yet they are both ceremonies intended to help the departed, and they both do help the departed, there is no shadow of doubt about that. Now the Catholic would cling to the form of his Mass, but in clinging to these forms he would be clinging to superstition. There is no superstition in doing that which helps the dead ; that is a real and a beneficent act. The act itself is the essential thing, with the goodwill and the earnestness put into it and the love poured out towards the de- parted. These are the real things, and these produce the result, but the mere outer garment is unimportant. The garment of the Mass in black and silver, or the offerings of the balls of rice, these do not matter, they are only the outward forms. Clinging to them would be superstition, but the ceremony itself, the truth that that lies behind it, that is a fact in nature, not a super- stition. It may not be a bad thing to examine your own minds, even you who are Theosophists, and see how much of your mental furniture you can definitely .claim as belonging to yourselves—how much you believe because a great many other people believe it, how much you believe because it is written in some sacred book, how much you believe merely ancestrally without ever having thought about it.